Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (1.5 ATA) in Treating Sports-Related TBI/CTE: Two Case Reports

Introduction

In recent years, there has been growing interest in exploring alternative treatment options for sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). One such therapy that has shown promise is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This article summarizes the findings of a paper titled “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (1.5 ATA) in treating sports-related TBI/CTE: two case reports” and discusses the effectiveness of HBOT in treating these conditions.

Study Design and Methods

The paper presents two case reports of athletes who experienced sports-related TBI and subsequently developed symptoms consistent with CTE. Both individuals underwent a series of HBOT sessions at 1.5 atmospheres absolute (ATA). The treatment involved the patients being placed in a hyperbaric chamber and exposed to 100% oxygen for a specified duration.

Case Report 1

The first case report involved a professional football player who had a history of repetitive head trauma and subsequently developed cognitive decline, mood disturbances, and memory impairment. The patient underwent a total of 40 HBOT sessions over a period of 30 days. Pre- and post-treatment assessments were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the therapy.

Case Report 2

The second case report focused on a former boxer who had a similar history of head trauma and presented with symptoms including memory loss, irritability, and difficulty with concentration. This patient received a total of 60 HBOT sessions over a period of 45 days. Similar to the first case, pre- and post-treatment evaluations were performed to assess the outcomes.

Results

Both case reports demonstrated positive outcomes following HBOT. The patients experienced improvements in various aspects, including cognitive function, memory, mood, and quality of life. Neurological examinations, SPECT brain imaging, and neuropsychological testing showed significant improvements after the treatment. The first case report showed an increase in full-scale IQ by 14.8 points, improvements in memory, attention, and executive function, as well as a reduction in post-concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. The second case report also reported improvements in cognitive function, memory, and mood.

Discussion and Conclusion

The findings from these two case reports suggest that HBOT at 1.5 ATA may be an effective treatment option for sports-related TBI and CTE. The therapy appeared to improve cognitive function, memory, mood, and overall quality of life in both patients. It is important to note that these case reports are preliminary, and further research is needed to establish the efficacy of HBOT in a larger population.

The results of this study align with previous research that has shown the potential benefits of HBOT in TBI and CTE cases. The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT sessions are believed to promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and enhance neuroplasticity, leading to improved neurological function.

In conclusion, the two case reports presented in this paper provide encouraging evidence for the use of HBOT at 1.5 ATA in the treatment of sports-related TBI and CTE. However, it is crucial to conduct more extensive studies involving larger sample sizes to validate these findings. HBOT has the potential to be a valuable adjunctive therapy in the management of these conditions, offering hope for athletes and individuals affected by sports-related brain injuries.

Citation

Stoller KP. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (1.5 ATA) in treating sports-related TBI/CTE: two case reports. Med Gas Res. 2011 Jul 5;1(1):17. doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-1-17. PMID: 22146303; PMCID: PMC3231948.